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With roots in the Cape Fear region and ancestors prominent in the colonial and Revolutionary era, Thomas Samuel Ashe extended his family’s prominence into the mid-nineteenth century. When young Ashe was twelve years old, his father moved from Alamance County to Alabama but Thomas Ashe returned to North Carolina to attend the Bingham School and, in time, the University of North Carolina. There he established a reputation for public speaking and he returned the favor by long serving as a trustee. He worked to reopen the University after its closing during Reconstruction.
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Ashe’s profession was the law and he studied under Thomas Ruffin before setting up his practice in Wadesboro in 1836. In 1842 he commenced public service with election to the State House. He served in both the Confederate Congress and in the U.S. Congress. In 1868, running as a Conservative, he lost to W. W. Holden in the race for governor in 1868. After two terms in Congress, Ashe took a seat on the State Supreme Court where he remained for the rest of his life. He died in 1887 and is buried in East View Cemetery in Wadesboro.
Samuel A. Ashe, ed., Biographical History of North Carolina, VIII, 37-49
William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, I, 55-56—sketch by Buck Yearns
Biographical Directory of the American Congress, 1774-1989 (1989)
Wadesboro Messenger and Intelligencer, October 12, 1966
Anson County Deed Books, North Carolina State Archives